Poem 188 – I Told You to be Happy

Under his great vice regent shall abide
United as one individual soul
Forever happy: him who disobeys
Me disobeys, breaks union, and that day
Cast out from God and blessèd vision, falls
Into utter darkness, deep engulfed, his place
Ordained without redemption, without end.

Milton, Paradise Lost, Book V, 609-615

I told you to be happy! Why do you not obey?
Under my leadership you should smile.
I offer all you require, ev’ry moment of ev’ry day
So why are you not rejoicing at my reign?
It is not as though I ask too high a price of you,
Only eternal fealty and love.
I command you, be happy, praise your prince!
And smile forever, never fade.


Dear readers,

The quote I have here is from God, announcing the creation of his son, Christ (At this point, neither the Messiah, nor the Redeemer, since Man has not yet fallen. Of course, God knows that Man will fall, since he knows all that will happen, but things get confusing around that point, so let’s ignore it). The thing I like about the quote is how the assembled angels are told first that they should rejoice, and secondly that if they are not happy for eternity, they will be sent to hell. This seems like a big ask, to me.

The last line is very similar to a quote from a work I wrote for a dear friend. I do not know if they will read it, since they are busy, but if you are reading this, S, thanks for everything.

All the best,

The Hapless Neo-Romantic


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